Following a successful inaugural year, applications open today for the 2018 Hogan Lovells GB Para-athlete bursary to support para-athletes in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games or Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.
Paralympians and aspiring Paralympians, recognised by the British Paralympic Association (BPA) and their national governing body, who are actively competing in national and international competitions can apply for one-off bursaries to help them with an aspect of their career development. This might include purchasing and replacing vital equipment, paying for travel to training camps and competitions, additional coaching, and training support services. The maximum bursary award will be £3,000 per athlete.
In its first year, seven athletes from over 80 applicants were awarded bursaries of up to £2,000 in 2017:
· Rich Amos, Boccia
· James Barnes-Miller, Para Snowboard
· Ayaz Bhuta, Wheelchair Rugby
· Kelly Gallagher, Para Alpine Skiing
· Jodie Grinham, Para Archery
· Jack Daniel Peters, Para Alpine Skiing
· Leif Thobroe, Para Taekwondo
James Barnes-Miller, who was selected as part of the first-ever ParalympicsGB snowboard team for PyeongChang 2018, said the bursary proved invaluable:
"I used the bursary to get flights out to Finland and accommodation for three weeks. While we were there we had two weeks of training on a world class boarder-cross course and a week of World Cup races. This was vital and the best training we had last year and ensured I headed to PyeongChang with the best preparation possible."
Tokyo 2020 boccia hopeful Rich Amos and para taekwondo competitor Leif Thobroe have used the bursary towards essential training. Leif said:
"The Hogan Lovells Para-Athlete Bursary allowed me to purchase essential training equipment to enable me to train at home, helping me increase the amount of training I'm able to do, which will hopefully make all the difference at competition time."
"The Hogan Lovells bursary allowed me to afford more time with my Sports Assistant, whom I directly employ, and my time at the training venue. With the needed increase in training I aim to secure my spot on the World Class Programme, qualify and reach my goals at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo."
For wheelchair rugby player Ayaz Bhuta and para archer Jodie Grinham, the bursary has been essential to maintain their equipment, with Ayaz commenting:
"It takes a lot to keep a wheelchair running, especially in such a high-contact sport. Things like wheel bearings, spindles and caster forks can get really expensive."
Jodie reiterated the difference the bursary has made to her:
"Thanks to the bursary I've been able to update my equipment. Arrows were first on my list. I was using two-year-old arrows which have served me well; however, new ones will give me the extra points I need to really get to the top of my sport. I have also purchased a new release aid and another archery kit I have been needing. Having my own means I can adjust and set up my equipment to suit me. As each person is different this will have a massive impact. In a sport where your equipment is just as important as the athlete you need the best to be the best."
Hogan Lovells is Official Legal Services Provider to the BPA through to Tokyo 2020. A long-standing relationship between the two organisations has existed since before Beijing 2008. Throughout this period, led by relationship partner Richard Welfare, Hogan Lovells has provided the BPA with legal advice, secondments (including in-Games legal support) and volunteers across a number of areas, supporting ParalympicsGB to achieve historic performances at London 2012, Sochi 2014, Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018.
In addition to supporting world champion sprinter Sophie Hahn MBE with an athletic scholarship, and Hogan Lovells ambassador and Paralympic, World, European and Commonwealth Champion swimmer Ollie Hynd MBE; the firm also provides pro bono legal advice to clients including Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby, the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation, UK Boccia Federation and the International Boccia Federation.Click here for more information about the bursary and how it works, plus you can download an application form by clicking here. The deadline for 2018 bursary applications is 9th November 2018.